Hydrodynamic performance of a biomimetically improved tidal turbine blade

W. Shi, R. Rosli, M. Atlar, R. Norman, D. Wang, W. Yang

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This paper contributes into the investigations on the feasibility of improving the performance of a marine current turbine using a biomimetic concept inspired from the leading edge tubercles at the flippers of humpback whales. An experimental test campaign has been recently conducted in the Emerson Cavitation Tunnel at Newcastle University and some details of this test campaign together with the findings are summarised in the paper.
A set of tidal turbines with different leading-edge profiles was manufactured and tested to evaluate the effect on the hydrodynamic performance. Various tests, which included performance, flow observations, noise and cavitation, were conducted under different speed and different pitch angle settings of the turbine blades. Eventually, by these investigations, the advantage and disadvantage of applying the leading-edge tubercles on the hydrodynamic performance of the tidal turbines were evaluated as well as further understanding of this biomimetic concept in applying on to tidal turbines.
As far as the performance tests are concerned, the results showed that the models with the leadingedge tubercles had a better performance in the lower tip speed ratios (TSRs) and at lower pitch angle settings where the turbine blades were working under the stall conditions. Furthermore, the tubercles have enabled to start the turbines quicker at very low TSR range. In the meanwhile the biomimetic concept did not compromise the maximum power coefficient value of the turbine without the tubercles but shifted the distribution of the coefficient over the range of the tip speed ratios tested.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2015
EventThe 4th International Conference on Advanced Model Measurement Technology for the Maritime Industry: AMT’15 - Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 28 Sept 201530 Sept 2015


ConferenceThe 4th International Conference on Advanced Model Measurement Technology for the Maritime Industry
Abbreviated titleAMT’15


  • marine current turbine
  • biomimetic
  • leading-edge profiles
  • hydrodynamic performance


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